Lloyds accused of selling tax avoidance schemes

Lloyds Banking Group has been accused of selling tax avoidance schemes that
channel funds through China.

Staff at Lloyds Jersey branch were secretly filmed by journalists at
offering to “get around” the European Savings Tax Directive, by paying money to
clients in Hong Kong.

Lloyds has denied any wrong doing and said it would not comment on the
actions of a single employee.

Controversially, Lloyds was one of the banks rescued by the UK government
last year with a £17bn bail out.

According to Panorama, the employee said it was of “no interest to us whether
you tell the tax man or not. It’s not our business.”

This prompted an angry response from Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary at
HMRC, who said: “That’s an incredibly irresponsible thing for him to have said.
We might interpret that to mean he was so reckless that he was giving his client
a signal that he didn’t have to make a return of income. Were we to find that
happening we would take a very dim view of it.”

Lloyds responded to the claims by highlighting its “robust anti
money-laundering systems and processes”.

“These processes are designed to ensure that colleagues are able to identify
and report any suspicious activity on the part of our customers,” the bank said.

“We take any allegation of misconduct very seriously and conduct thorough
investigations, involving our regulators and law enforcement agencies when
appropriate. Should an investigation ever show that misconduct had taken place
then we would proceed to take such disciplinary action as appropriate.”

Read the full story:
inquiry into Lloyds off-shore

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